Weight Loss GPS

Losing weight can be a frustrating prospect.  Recently a patient in our weight loss program came in discouraged after gaining weight while exercising and eating right!  Addressing this perception of failure is critical to long term success.  I say perception because while the scale said she was up 2 pounds, she had actually lost 5 pounds of fat and gained 7 pounds of muscle!

It is critically important to monitor body composition during any weight loss effort to ensure that the weight being lost is from the correct compartment.  In most cases, a significant loss of muscle will negatively affect metabolism, resulting in rebound fat gain which is usually worse than the original problem.  This creates a vicious cycle of lower and lower metabolic rate and steadily increasing fat mass.  When lean body mass (muscle) is preserved or increased, metabolic rate remains steady or rises, which results in more calories burned at rest.  This is one of the secrets of maintaining your weight loss over time.  Increased muscle mass also encourages mineralization of bones, contributes to good balance, and helps with stamina and endurance, especially as we age.  Muscle is a precious commodity and has been shown to be higher in persons who have aged healthfully and actively into their 90’s.  Putting muscle “in the bank” is a great achievement!

Sarcopenia is characterized by muscle atrophy (a decrease in the size of muscle), along with a reduction in muscle tissue “quality”, caused by such factors as replacement of muscle fibers with fat.  Combined, these changes lead to progressive loss of muscle, function and frailty.  It is therefore imperative on a weight loss program to shed fat not muscle.  Sarcopenia often occurs in the yo-yo dieter who may be sacrificing quality nutrition to lose weight.  This is “bad dieting” which results in a “skinny” “fat” person, often with compromised health.


Are you going in the right direction? Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) is a GPS for your weight loss. Monitoring your body composition can be done several ways:  BIA, skin fold caliper test, underwater weighing and DEXA scans are some of the most popular.  The BIA is the clear choice for accuracy, ease of testing, and cost efficiency.  We chose the RJL Systems analyzers because they are the “gold-standard” within the BIA instrument industry.  They are the instruments of choice for scientists, researchers, clinicians, physicians and other medical professionals, whether they are in health care practices/institutions, educational, governmental or industrial settings.  The test is fast, accurate and reliable.   Four electrodes are placed on the hand and foot.  You don’t feel a thing as the practitioner performs the test.  The results are then entered into a computer program to compile your results.  Your practitioner will review your results with you, giving you a, detailed color print out.

To prepare for your body composition analysis:

  • Avoid any intake of alcohol for 24 hours prior to the test
  • Do not exercise (strenuously) for 4 hours prior to the test
  • For the most accurate results, avoid caffeine or food for 4 hours prior to the test
  • DO consume 2-4 glasses of water within 2 hours of the test
  • If you take diuretics, be consistent with the time of day that you take them
  • Try to be consistent with regards to the time of day the test is performed
  • Women:  Please inform your practitioner if you are about to start, or have just started a menstrual period as this can sometimes alter your results
  • The BIA test has not been tested in, or approved for pregnant women.  Please advise your practitioner if you are, or are trying to become, pregnant.  The test is also contraindicated in individuals with any type of implanted electronic device (e.g. pacemaker, defibrillator, etc.)



These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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